________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 18. . . . May 9, 2003

cover Making Shadow Puppets. (Kids Can Do It).

Jill Bryant and Catherine Heard. Illustrated by Laura Watson.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2002.
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $5.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55337-029-5 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55337-028-7 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Shadow puppets-Juvenile literature.
Shadow plays-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 and up / Ages 8 and up.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

**** /4


You may know how to make hand shadows on your bedroom wall or the side of a tent, but what is a traditional shadow puppet? Shadow puppets are flat figures held up and controlled by thin rods or sticks attached to their bodies and limbs. Some puppets have many tiny cutout shapes that let bits of light through and create breathtaking silhouettes.

This book includes instructions for making nine wonderful shadow puppets and two types of shadow screens. The traceable template shapes on page 40 will help you draw the parts of the puppets. Watch how the flat shapes of puppets come alive when you move them behind a screen! Rods attached to parts of the puppets let you make them dance, wave and leap. Act out a familiar story with the puppets, or create a play of your own. Have fun performing shadow puppet plays for your family and friends.

This non-fiction book is a great addition to any child's personal library or to a school library craft collection. It includes puppet ideas for a number of items such as a snake, horse, jester, monster, donkey prince, princess, and robot. The directions are very age appropriate, and the needed materials are simple to obtain.

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     The book is divided into chapters beginning with a brief introduction, materials needed, historical background followed by nine characters to make. The concluding chapters are concerned with making a box screen or a doorway screen, putting on a play, including props and scenery, plus providing templates. The illustrations are clear, and the directions are simple to follow. Each of the chapters on the characters concludes with an "Other Ideas" section which adds information on how to adapt this puppet to create others. For example the snake can be adapted to make caterpillars or worms. These chapters on characters are set up in a similar fashion. The illustrations are step by step with detailed directions easy to follow for children. Each of the pages begins with identifying what materials are needed.

     For anyone wanting to make shadow puppets, this book is excellent. It provides enough background for interest and certainly sufficient directions for success.

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian and a Grade 12 English teacher at W.P. Sandin Composite High School, a grade 5 to 12 school in Shellbrook, SK.


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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364